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Prof Manzoor Iqbal Awan-S11-BU-BBA VII C-Comparative Management-Student Projects-23 May 11

Prof Manzoor Iqbal Awan-S11-BU-BBA VII C-Comparative Management-Student Projects-23 May 11

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BACKGROUND

Abercrombie & Fitch is an American retailer that focuses on casual wear for consumers ages

18 through 22. With over 300 locations in the United States, the brand is now expanding

internationally. The company also operates three offshoot brands: Abercrombie (children

swear), Hollister Co., and Gilly Hicks. The company operated a post-grad brand, Ruehl

No.925 that closed in early 2010.

The history of Abercrombie & Fitch spans over three centuries. Key figures who changed and

influenced the course of Abercrombie & Fitch's history include David T. Abercrombie (the

founder), Ezra Fitch (the co-founder), Limited Brands and Michael Jeffries (current

Chairman and CEO).

David Abercrombie founded A&F in 1892 as an upscale sporting goods store. Forming a

partnership with Ezra Fitch, the company continued to expand in the new 20th century. After

Abercrombie left the company, Fitch became sole owner and ushered in the "Fitch Years" of

continued success. After his retirement, the company continued under a succession of other

leaders until its financial fall and closing in 1977. Limited Brands purchased the ailing brand

in 1988 and brought in Mike Jeffries, who revolutionized the image of Abercrombie & Fitch

to become an upscale youthful fashion retailer. Today, the company is a multi-billion dollar

entity continuing to experience economic expansion through the business continuance of

three off-shoot growing concepts and cautious international expansion into key luxury

markets.

Prominent figures who patronized the company in its excursion goods days of the early 20th

century include Teddy Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart,

Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Clark

Gable, John Steinbeck, John F. Kennedy, Ernest Shackleton, and Dwight Eisenhower.

There have been three retailers called Abercrombie & Fitch, and the current A&F shares only

its name with the original business. Founded in 1892 in Manhattan by David T. Abercrombie

and Ezra H. Fitch, the real Abercrombie & Fitch was an elite outfitter of sporting and

excursion goods, particularly noted for its expensive shotguns, fishing rods, and tents. In

1976 Abercrombie & Fitch filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, finally closing its flagship

Manhattan store in 1977.

The name was revived shortly thereafter, when in 1978-79, Oshman's Sporting Goods, a

Houston-based chain, bought the defunct firm's name and mailing list. Oshman's re-launched

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A&F as a mail-order retailer specializing in hunting wear and novelty items. It also opened

shops in Beverly Hills, Dallas, and (by the mid-1980s) New York City. Finally, in 1988,

Oshman's sold the company name and operations to The Limited, a clothing-chain operator

based in Columbus, Ohio.

The current version of A&F sells mostly clothes instead of pith helmets or elephant guns, and

describes its retailing niche as an aspirational "Casual Luxury" lifestyle brand.

Especially since 1997, the company has consistently kept a high-profile in the public eye -

both positive and negative - due to its type of advertising (including its own film and

magazines), its philanthropy, and its involvement in legal conflicts over branding, clothing

style and employment practices. The company has been accused of promoting the

sexualization of pre-teen girls by marketing thongs to 10-year-olds and padded bikini tops to

7-year-olds.

STRENGTHSAND WEAKNESSES

STRENGTHS

One of the major strengths for this company is its experience in the US clothing industry i.e.

for one hundred years. The latter company has been able to compete favourably with UK

retailers because like the US market, UK consumers have a deep respect for quality and this

company is able to offer them that. They have unique garment combinations and their

fragrances also possess this same quality. They are therefore in a position to handle some of

the challenges facing this respective industry.

Besides the latter matter, A&F is succeeding within the UK since there is tendency towards

dressing down in the recent years. Most offices in the IT sector allow casual wear while all

other offices usually have a causal Friday. Consequently, A&F which specialises in offering

luxurious casual wear has higher chances of succeeding in this market than those companies

offering formal clothes as their major product.

WEAKNESSES

One of the issues that has generated a lot of debate about Abercrombie and Fitch is the fact

that the company's marketing strategies do not portray its core idea i.e. that of comfort and a

causal lifestyle. When one examines their adverts, one is likely to find half dressed men and

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women. The company has focused too much on portraying this "sensual" image and has thus

deviated from its core idea which was to offer people casualclothes for their every day needs.

The company has failed to communicate this message even in their online website as readers

are bombarded by scantily dressed models that do not signify the comfortable look.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE

A DEMOCRATIC WORKSPACE

The jury was impressed with the beauty of the outcome. But they also praised the depth of

research underlying the design, particularly the master site plan. Analysis here involved

assessment of sensitive wildlife and wetland issues.

Initial investigation also uncovered Native American archaeological sites that yielded

significant artifacts. The project not only preserves these resources, but highlights them as

features in the site.

A considerable effort was also made to understand the needs of company workers. A&F is

structured into twenty one distinct, but related departments. To better understand the nature

of their activities and provide for necessary adjacencies, the architects interviewed the heads

of all these departments. Several jurors did question why lower-level employees were not

interviewed, however, since their views might have added considerably to the effort.

In negotiating a balance between a traditional office and a more open campus, the primary

precedent was A&F’s vision of an open working environment. But the design also benefited

from a growing body of research on new forms of office design, especially notions of

community and democracy in the workplace, jurors noted. As part of this strategy, the usual

order of private cubicles and common break rooms is inverted, with only a handful of

employees receiving individual offices (largely to allow privacy for legal and/or personnel

matters). Most everyone else works at adaptable groupings of tables, separated from one

another by sandblasted Plexiglas dividers.

The work areas in the main shed structures are also distinguished by a series of so-called

“subway-cars,” which run down their center and contain pin-up space, conference rooms,

bathrooms, clothing display areas, and storage space.

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Built of a variety of materials from concrete block to wire mesh, they create a sense of scale

within the larger whole.

In the end the principal goal of the design was to afford workers flexibility in carrying out

their assigned tasks. At any given moment an employee might be working alone,

collaborating with others at a group of desks, or visiting members of an adjacent department

in a conference room or at a larger table.

A certain amount of respect for employees comes with such a diminished sense of hierarchy

in the workplace. And

CEO Jeffries wanted to show that he was not exempt from this spirit. Originally, the

“treehouse” at the entrance to the campus was intended to contain his office. But this was

changed in later versions of the design to a conference room for the entire company. In

addition to signaling a desire for less exclusivity, Jeffries believed the change would make

him less isolated from everyday activities at the company.

In summing up his feelings about the project, one juror praised the “extremely human work

environment” created by the design team. The complex consistently takes advantage of the

rural setting and context to establish a vital and almost urban sense of place. “This is a

company that doesn’t like email,” Anderson says, “because it discourages contact.” Such a

bias is clearly manifest in the emphasis on diverse work spaces and alternate meeting areas,

and in the attempt to encourage personal interaction in a more democratic workplace design.

LABOR PRACTICES

In November 2009, Abercrombie & Fitch was added to the "Sweatshop Hall of Shame 2010"

by the worker advocacy group International Labor Rights Forum.

A&F QUARTERLY

Conservative and religious groups called for boycotts of the original American publication of

A&F Quarterly (published from 1997 to 2003) for its sexually explicit nature.

The magazine

contained nude photography by Bruce Weber, articles about sex, and recipes for alcoholic

beverages. Also acting as a catalog, the Quarterly displayed the brand's merchandise with

information and prices. Advertisements for the A&F Quarterly appeared in Interview, Out,

Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.

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Despite a company policy restricting sale of the publication to minors, critics charged that the

publication was readily sold to minors. In 2003, an array of religious organizations, women's

rights activists, and Asian American groups organized boycotts and protests over the

publication, and the "Christmas Edition" of the catalog was removed from stores. Although

Jeffries said he chose to discontinue the catalog, because "Frankly, [he] was getting sick of

the old one; it was getting boring," on June 17, 2010 the company made the announcement,

"The Return of the A&F Quarterly" and invited email subscribers to reserve their $10 copy

for a July 17, 2010 in-store release date.

MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

MANAGEMENT AND MARKETING

HOME OFFICE & CORPORATE OFFICIALS

The Abercrombie & Fitch company headquarters, or "Home Office", is located in New

Albany, Ohio. Home Office is designed as a campus of sorts, and is referred to as such. The

company's merchandise distribution centers (1,000,000sq.ft) are located exclusively on

campus to help ensure brand protection. Also on campus are mock-up stores, one for each

A&F brand, where store layout, merchandise and atmosphere are determined.

The company also has a European office in Milan, Italy.

The following are key corporate officials:

• Michael S. Jeffries - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

• Diane Chang - Executive Vice President of Sourcing

• Leslee K. Herro - Executive Vice President of Planning and Allocation

• David S. Cupps - Senior Vice President, Sec. and General Counsel

• Jonathan Ramsden - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

• Amy Zehrer - Senior Vice President of Stores

EMPLOYMENT

The company uses "brand representatives", now called "models," for store customer service.

The models had been required to buy and wear Abercrombie & Fitch apparel, but following a

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company settlement with California state labor regulators may now wear any no-logo

clothing as long as it corresponds with the season. The California settlement also provides

$2.2 million to reimburse former employees for their forced purchases of company-branded

clothing. An "Impact Team" was created in 2004 to control merchandise within each store

and maintain company standards; "visual managers" are responsible for forms, lighting,

photo marketing, and fragrance presentations and to ensure models comply with the "look

policy". Lawsuits have been filed against the company due to alleged discriminatory

employment practices. In 2004, in Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores (see Legal issues

& Controversy and Criticism below), the company was sued for giving desirable positions to

white applicants, to the exclusion of minorities.

EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

In 2004 lawsuit González v. Abercrombie & Fitch, the company was accused of

discriminating against ethnic minorities by preferentially offering desirable positions to

White American employees. The company agreed to an out-of-court settlement of the class

action suit. As part of the settlement terms, Abercrombie and Fitch agreed to pay US$45

million to rejected applicants and affected employees, include more minorities in advertising

campaigns, appoint a Vice President of Diversity, hire 25 recruiters to seek minority

employees, and discontinue the practice of recruiting employees at primarily white

fraternities and sororities.

In June 2009, British law student Riam Dean, who had worked at A&F's flagship store in

London's Saville Row, took the company to an employment tribunal. Dean, who was born

without a left forearm, claimed that although she was initially given special permission to

wear clothing that covered her prosthetic limb, she was soon told that her appearance

breached the company's "Look Policy" and sent to work in the stock room, out of sight of

customers. Dean sued the company for disability discrimination, and sought up to £20,000 in

damages. In August 2009, the tribunal ruled the 22-year-old was wrongfully dismissed and

unlawfully harassed. She was awarded £8,013 for hurt feelings, loss of earnings, and

wrongful dismissal.

In a lawsuit filed in September 2009 in U.S. District Court in Tulsa by the Equal Employment

Opportunity Commission, 17-year-old Samantha Elauf said she applied for a sales position at

the Abercrombie Kids store in the Woodland Hills Mall in June 2008. The teen, who wears a

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hijab in accordance with her religious beliefs, claims the manager told her the headscarf

violates the store's "Look Policy."

In 2010, a Muslim woman working at a Hollister store in San Mateo, California was fired.

Before being dismissed, Hani Khan had refused Abercrombie & Fitch's HR representative's

demand that she remove her hijab. The representative reportedly stated that the headscarf,

which Khan wears for religious reasons, violated the company's "Look Policy". The civil

liberties group Council on American-Islamic Relations has stated that the dismissal is a

violation of nondiscrimination laws, and filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment

Opportunity Commission.

CUSTOMER ISSUES

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST AUTISTIC PERSON

In 2009 Abercrombie & Fitch was fined more than $115,000 by the Minnesota Department of

Human Rights for refusing to let a teenage girl help her sister, who has autism, try on clothes

in a fitting room. The amount of the fine reflected the company's failure to respond to

complaints by the girls' mother and its subsequent charge that the girl in question did not

really have autism.

VIOLATION OF PRIVACY

A 16-year-old is suing the company after discovering that she was being videotaped in an

Abercrombie & Fitch changing room by an employee, Kenneth Applegate II. Applegate

denied the claim, but co-workers discovered his camera days later with the video on it.

LAWSUITS AGAINST OTHER PARTIES

In 2002, Abercrombie & Fitch filed a lawsuit against American Eagle Outfitters, claiming

that they copied A&F garment designs, among other things. The lawsuit was based on a trade

dress claim, stating that American Eagle Outfitters had very closely mimicked Abercrombie

& Fitch's products' visual appearance and packaging. Specifically, A&F claimed that

American Eagle Outfitters copied particular articles of clothing, in-store displays and

advertisements, and even the A&F product catalog. Despite the admission that American

Eagle may have utilized very similar materials, designs, in-store displays, symbols, color

combinations, and patterns as Abercrombie & Fitch, the court ruled that there was not an

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excessive level of similarity to confuse potential customers, and therefore the court ruled in

favor of the defendant, American Eagle Outfitters.

In 2009, the company filed a lawsuit against Beyoncé Knowles, who uses the onstage name

of Sasha Fierce, to stop her from marketing a fragrance named Sasha Fierce, claiming

infringement of A&F's own Fierce fragrance trademark.

ABERCROMBIE BOOSTING INTERNATIONAL PLANS

While domestic sales continue to struggle, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is stepping up its

international plans.

The New Albany-based retailer opened its first store in a non-English-speaking country with

the Oct. 29 opening of its Milan Abercrombie & Fitch flagship, which includes an

Abercrombie kids store and will accelerate the overseas growth of its Hollister chain.

“The most important translatable is that the Abercrombie & Fitch story is transferable to

other cultures,” said CEO Mike Jeffries in a Friday conference call. “There are Abercrombie

kids everywhere. They love the brand regardless of the language they speak.”

Hollister got is sixth and seventh mall stores in the United Kingdom in the quarter. Jeffries

said all seven U.K. stores are expected to be in the chains’ Top 10 for sales volume on an

annual basis.

International sales for the quarter ended Oct. 31, including direct-to-consumer sales, were

$88 million, with $61 million coming from the 20 stores in Canada and the U.K. and the two

stores in Italy that opened days before quarter end. The $61 million is 9 percent of

Abercrombie’s in-store sales for the quarter. Through the first nine months of the year, total

international sales are $220 million, with $151 million coming from the stores.

Five more international Hollister stores will open in the fourth quarter, including one each in

Frankfort and Rome, and the company will open its Abercrombie & Fitch flagship in Tokyo

Dec. 15, a store that has been three years in the making. The company’s flagship stores are

larger than the average store and are in high-traffic, tourist areas.

“The interesting thing about our business, the most important point of our business, is we sell

the same things everywhere ... the same store experience,” Jeffries said. “We succeed if

you’re in one of our stores and you cannot tell if you’re in a specific country.”

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The growth won’t slow in 2010 with flagships planned for Copenhagen and Fukuoka, Japan,

and an increase in Hollister openings throughout Europe.

CFO Jonathan Ramsden said the company will open 10 Hollisters in Europe this year and

will accelerate to “a multiple of that” next year.

“When we say acceleration, we’re not talking about 12 or 13,” he said, noting that more

details will come in the company’s year-end call.

On the domestic front for 2010, a Fifth Avenue location in New York City that was planned

to be an Abercrombie kids shop will now be a Hollister epic store. Epic is the company’s

term for its larger, marquee Hollister stores. Jeffries said Hollister has an international

reputation and the Fifth Avenue shop will attract many of the tourist customers who also shop

the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship on Fifth Avenue.

WAYSTO EXPLOIT STRENGTH

MARKETING THE MOST IMPORTANT PART?? SERVICE

Win in this era of a service, good service means the company’s attitude, brand reputation, and

with this brings a lot of potential consumers of resources, especially the product after-sales

service, it is related to a brand’s image established, and even directly affect the survival and

development. After-sales service is the product focus of the entire sales process is the

inevitable product of intense market competition, and brand based on the basis of strong

competitors, but also corporate responsibility and obligation to sell products. In general, most

consumers would think that brand-name products are often better than after-sales service, but

recent

Abercrombie and Fitch Discount Market performance of some well-known brands, it seems

that with this run counter to expectations, these brands

Abercrombie and Fitch Latest Style In the face of the basic after-sale problems have taken

evasive attitude to consumers disappointed.

As consumers everyday life of most contact, Abercrombie Discount Store products by the

market attention. Although the Chinese Abercrombie Discount Store brand building only a

few decades of development, has made gratifying achievements, but comparison with foreign

Abercrombie and Fitch Latest Style line, the degree of brand marketing is obviously lagging

behind the market. Currently, the domestic brand-building enterprises are mostly in the

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Abercrombie and Fitch Discount of the primary or intermediate stages of marketing, the

introduction of marketing concept in service and service marketing system building in the

bud, and Abercrombie Discount Store products, brand marketing and after-sale service work

in the fields of marketing research has not caused enough attention, a lot of work remains to

be enterprise to try and explore. Therefore, the subject of complaints for domestic

Abercrombie Discount Store situation is common, and an upward trend. Some Abercrombie

and Fitch Latest Style pursuit of economic interest, will focus on product development,

branding and other aspects of the terminal building, indifferent service to consumers, and the

lack of awareness of services marketing. This “re-production and sales, light after-sales

service” attitude, will harm the legitimate interests of consumers, to create did not trust the

brand, leading to the phenomenon of product decline in sales, limit its rapid development.

Looking at the market those legendary brand, almost all in the service of no small effort from

top to bottom, this is an important reason for its success one. Therefore, enterprises in the

provision of affordable products, but also to provide comprehensive after-sales service to

consumers, so as to accumulate loyalty for the brand’s market support, a solid market base.

So, increasingly demanding customer service, more and more detailed now, how to do a good

Abercrombie and Fitch Latest Style sales service work?

Establish the correct concept of service is the first step Abercrombie and Fitch Latest Style

action. Brand Abercrombie and Fitch Discount enterprises need to learn the concept of

service marketing to gain experience in domestic and foreign effective services, integration

and innovation, its unique service concept with its own system. Convey this concept through

to raise staff awareness of service, which really carry out the implementation of all aspects of

enterprise production and operation. Meanwhile, the Abercrombie and Fitch Latest Style

should also be gradually standardized services, particularly to improve the psychological

quality end sales and service skills, to recognize that after-sales service and pre-sale service is

equally important to high quality comprehensive services to meet consumer who needs to

service a brand conducive to competitive advantage. Secondly, good after-sales service also

provide premium services beyond the expectations of consumers. In accordance with current

industry

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WARRANTY

Provides the industry free of charge for up to three packs of three months, after three months

of paid service, this Abercrombie and Fitch Latest Style can be extended according to the

actual situation of “three guarantees” the scope and timing of repair, the quality of the

products in question do appear to be recognized and returned to continuously improve the

quality of after-sales maintenance, increase maintenance and other services free of charge, to

enhance consumer satisfaction with the work of the after-sales service, training brand loyalty.

EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

Political factors

Political factors can have a direct impact on the way business operates. Every decision made

by the government can have a direct or indirect effect. Every country that A&F operates in

has a free market-oriented economy with rules and regulations to protect patent and

intelligent right from imitation. It helps companies to protect their property. But there are also

rules, regulations and laws A&F has to follow such as rights of employees, workers and

shareholders. The effect employee laws have are significant, because of the labor intenseness

of the apparel industry. Trade regulations play an important role too, as it is exposed to

overseas competition from nations where their employees receive much lower wages

Economic Factors

Like every business A&F is affected by booms and slumps of the economy as a whole.

Furthermore factors like the oil price, inflation and interest rates affect A&F. 90 Percent of

total expenditures consist of the major components like food, services, housing and apparel.

Of these only apparel and service had a statistically significant change of a 6.2 percent

decrease in 2003.

Social Factors

Population characteristics are called demographics. In other words statistics about age, sex,

income, ethnicity, marital status and similar personal attributes on individuals in a region.

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Having a good understanding of this information can assist in determining whether a product

has any potential or appeal to customers.

INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

The clothing retail market is one of the most fiercely competitive industries within the UK

economy. In order for companies to stay ahead, they must look for ways in which they can

offer an outstanding product or service. (Dibb, Simkin, Pride and Ferrell, 2006)

One way in which these companies are achieving the latter is through their choice of

purchase location. Independents, chain stores, fashion multiples and sports shops are

currently characterizing the clothing and apparel industry. Besides this, the choice of location

is usually linked to certain age groups. For instance, fashion multiples are normally

associated with younger shoppers while departmental stores may be open to a wider variety

of shoppers. In the latter mentioned outlets, men are penetrated a little more than are women

except for a few exceptions. There are certain scenarios that seem to be lacking a competitive

edge within this industry. For instance, the use of traditional mail catalogues is slowly

becoming outdated owing to the fact that these catalogues are printed quite early in the

season. Therefore, such methods cannot be able to accommodate the changes in prices

synonymous with prevailing business conditions.

While online shopping is slowly becoming an influential force in the clothing industry, there

are a number of hurdles that are yet to be overcome through such approaches. First of all,

consumers may be hesitant to give personal details about their credit cards across the internet

due to increasing cases of cyber crime. (McDonald, 2006) Another factor that could be

causing this hesitation towards online shopping in the clothing and apparel industry is the

tendency for users to try out clothes before buying them. The latter issue may not be

important when buying other products across the internet (examples include books) but this is

an issue that is unique to what A&F are offering. Additionally, online purchases are

determined through brand recognition. Since A&F began its operations in the UK less than

two years ago, then they may not qualify as one of the market leaders in the clothing industry.

The clothing and apparel industry is increasingly becoming open to intrusion by external

operators because of the fact that mot established clothing brands are venturing into other

products. For instance, Ted Baker – leading clothes retailer has now introduced skincare

products. Abercrombie and Fitch may have to contend with the fact that mid market retailers

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are increasingly going to be sidelined. This is largely because brand awareness is an

important factor in this industry. Certain types of clothes are now being associated with

certain companies. For instance, in order to purchase jeans consumers will go to company

‘A'. In order to buy ports shoes, purchasers will go to company ‘B'. Consequently, such

established brands are likely to maintain sales since they are firmly established. Retail

companies trying to make it in the industry may not be able to do very well.

Lastly, the United Kingdom clothing market is fast becoming one characterised by extremes.

Exclusive designer stores are placed in one line of the industry. On the other hand, there are

discount stores to cater for the lower end of the market. The mid market retailers are finding

it highly difficult to curve out a place within the retail industry. An example of a company

that had to close down because of the latter issue was C&A. It is also particularly interesting

to note that a number of large supermarkets or retail chains are now offering clothing and

examples here include Tesco Plc and ASDA. Such companies are all worth considering when

doing business within this industry.

CONTROVERSY AND CRITICISM

Since its re-establishment in 1988, Abercrombie & Fitch has faced numerous accusations in

regards to its employment practices, merchandise, and advertising campaigns which have

been described as sexually explicit and racist.

A&F agreed to pay $40 million by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

("EEOC") to all African American, Asian, and Latino applicants who were discriminated

against by the company. The applicants argued that the company expected them to work only

in low-visibility jobs in the back of the store. The EEOC required A&F to provide equal

opportunity to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender.

ANALYSIS

Abercrombie and Fitch has established itself as a brand that young people can relate to and be

comfortable in. Although it does not have retail outlets in Pakistan, it still caters to quite a

few people over here; who either import the products or go to other retailers who keep the

products but sell them at a more expensive price. Starting off as a shop that housed sporting

equipment, Abercrombie and Fitch has since the years of inception become the most

favourite brand in casual wear and has been, over the years, endorsed by names such as

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Katherine Hepburn, John F. Kennedy, Teddy Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart among others.

Although the company filed for bankruptcy, it was revived and came back to the public eye

with an agenda to take the world by storm. Its advertising campaigns as well have both been

the center for positive and negative light. They have been criticized for sexualizing young

adults.

Abercrombie have been in the clothing industry for a hundred years now and to some extent

have dominated a segment of the industry as well. The company has established itself as a

company that promotes quality as well and is thus able to compete with the UK competitors

as well. In the UK especially, a ‘dressing down’ trend has been developed. Either office

have all casual wear atmosphere or a casual wear atmosphere and that is where Abercrombie

hits the mark; it sells casual yet trendy “casual trendy” as it is deemed, and it caters to those

audience.

However, the company does not portray the idea of a comfort lifestyle. All their

advertisements seem to portray something else. They seem to be portraying sensuality and

their adverts sport half dressed models. People have complained of low self-esteem because

they feel incompetent as opposed to the models that seem ‘almost perfect.’

The Abercrombie and Fitch offices have also been credited as being ‘democratic.’ However,

it was added to the "Sweatshop Hall of Shame 2010" by the worker advocacy group

International Labor Rights Forum in 2009 and a lawsuit was also filed against them

(Gonzales vs. Abercrombie and Fitch Stores, 2009). The company has been criticized for

selecting and preferring white applicants to minorities. Women wearing the Islamic

headgear hijab were also discriminated. The employees were supposed to buy and wear

company clothes while dealing with customers, but that was reversed due to a settlement, the

employers were now allowed to bear anything as long as it didn’t bear any logos for other

companies. The A & F Quarterly, a magazine published by the company was also the subject

of boycott due to explicit content like nude photography, recipes for alcoholic beverages etc.

Customers have also filed complaints against the stores. A lawsuit was filed in 2009 because

a girl was not allowed to help her sister who had autism try on clothes. The workers later said

that the girl ‘did not really have autism’ which was proved to be untrue. Another girl

complained that an employee videotaped her while she was changing. The employee denied it

but other co-workers found is camera that proved the girl’s claim to be true. However, A & F

has filed lawsuits too. It sued the company American Eagle in 2002 because they claimed that

780

it copied a few of their designs, advertisements and even catalogs, the courts however ruled

in favour of American Eagle. The company also filed a lawsuit against Beyonce who wanted

to launch her perfume called Sasha Fierce but Abercrombie already had a perfume called

Fierce which is their most heavily marketed perfume for women.

Abercrombie is however boosting its plans for sales abroad.

Although it has been the center of criticism, it also has a lot of positive points too.

CONCLUSION

In any case, A&F still has a strong brand reputation: customers know what it represents, their

looks are still somewhat relevant, but interest in it is lagging in the U.S. At the same time, it

is still considered one of the leading specialty retailers in the world. Time will tell but test

flagship stores in London, Tokyo, and Milan have shown immense success, and it is likely

any growth will be fueled from internationalization in the near future.

REFERENCES

Abercrombie and Fitch Official Site

http://www.abercrombie.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/HomePage?langId=-

1&storeId=11203&catalogId=10901

Abercrombie and Fitch SWOT, April 2 09,

http://www.zimbio.com/Abercrombie+and+Fitch+Clothing/articles/14/Abercrombie+Fitch+S

WOT+Analysis

Meeting Preview Abercrombie and Fitch, July 7 2007

http://fashioninvestor.blogspot.com/2007/07/shareholders-meeting-preview.html

The Greatest Success Story, Kensao, July ^ 2009

http://www.kensao.com/shopping/clothing/abercrombie-and-fitch-the-greatest-success-story-

of-the-past-20-years/

The Success of Abercrombie and Fitch, 22 may 2009

http://www.tellthing.com/merit/note/170624/us-retailer-abercrombie-amp;-fitch-success.html

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